The primary goal of erosion control is to:
Maintain water quality – source control – keep soil in place.
Not increase runoff quantity – maintain existing runoff volume through infiltration.
Maintain air quality – control dust by minimizing wind erosion.
Tips for Planting Erosion Control Seed
- 40-60#s per acre –steep areas or soils prone to erosion should use the higher end of the range.
- 1- 1 1/2#s per 1,000 square foot
Seeding Your Area
Mid September to Mid November. Here, the soil is still warm and prior to the onset of winter rains.
Mow down existing grasses and weeds, if possible, rake the soil, then broadcast seed.
Additionally, a material such as straw, jute netting or other erosion control method should be used to protect the seed from birds, wind, etc.
Establishing the Grasses
Using Annuals for Erosion Control (i.e., LeBallister’s Economy Mix, Quick Cover, Annual Ryegrass)
Benefits of Annuals:
- Fast germination and establishment. Annuals should be used in areas where the threat of erosion is high.
- Usually provide a dense root system
- Annuals have a very good reseeding capacity
- Can help with weed suppression
- Relatively cost effective
Disadvantages of Annuals:
- Tend to be tall
- Can be difficult to eradicate if you no longer want them in the area.
Without irrigation, your seeded area will go to seed in late spring. If you plan on mowing the area, take care to mow after the seed heads are fully developed and drying out. The seed that is produced should continue to provide good erosion control.
Using Perennials for Erosion Control (i.e., LeBallister’s Pathway Mix, Fine Fescue Blend, most native grasses)
Benefits of Perennials:
- Generally stay shorter than annual grasses. Because of the shorter stature, a better option for mixing in wildflowers.
- Will stay green for a longer period of time, particularly in wet areas. Can do well with irrigation.
- More shade tolerance
Disadvantages of Perennials:
- Slower than annuals to germinate and establish
- Can be crowded out by annual weeds and grasses
With perennial grasses, your seeded area will go dormant in the summer. Once established, perennial grasses can be mowed at any time, but take care not to mow too short and harm the crown of the plant.
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ECONOMY ANNUAL MIX$0.65 per pound
Mix of Annual Ryegrass, Barley and Crimson Clover. Fast germinating annual grasses and clover to help stabilize soils.
FINE FESCUE BLEND$1.97 – $2.12 per pound
Mix of Creeping Red Fescue, Chewings Fescue and Sheeps Fescue. These are low growing, perennial grasses and is the type of mix often referred to as a “no mow” mix. They will not germinate as quickly as annual grasses. This is a good mix to use around homes, meadows, etc. This mix tolerates shade well.
PATHWAY-ROADWAY$1.69 – $1.84 per pound
Mix of Creeping Red Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass and Hard Fescue. These are low growing, perennial grasses that will tolerate shade well. They will not germinate as quickly as annual grasses. This is a good mix to use around homes, septic mounds, roadways, etc.
Application Rate: 1-1 1/2 #s per 1,000 sq ft/40-60#s per acre
QUICK COVER$1.32 – $1.47 per pound
SEA RANCH MEADOW MIX$2.35 – $2.50 per pound
Vineyard Special (Permanent Cover Crop)$2.45 – $2.60 per pound
Mix of Blando Brome, Crimson Clover, Rose Clover and Zorro Fescue. Fast germinating annual grasses and clovers to help stabilize soils. This mix is an excellent choice to establishing a permanent cover crop.
Application Rate: 1-1 1/2 #s per 1,000 sq ft/40-60#s per acre If you are just planting between vineyard rows, 20-30 lbs per acre is generally adequate.